10 November 2022
Step-by-Step Guide to Launching Your First Webshop
When you start a webshop for the first time, there are a lot of choices you need to make and important things you need to set up before your new shop can go online.
You need to choose which webshop solution your online store will use, and you have to consider the needs your shop must address. You need to manage your domain and shipping options for goods, and you must have an agreement on a payment gateway and a merchant agreement.
Here we provide a brief guide on how to best get started with a new online store.
Read more below.
Define Key Features for Your Webshop:
What It Needs to Achieve
Once you've decided to start a webshop, it's wise to take a thorough look at the features you want your shop to have.
A good place to start is to define your product range. If you sell standard products that do not require special shipping, the requirements for the shop system are less extensive and can therefore be reasonably easily met by most webshop solutions.
However, if you want to sell products that are more complex, such as wall paint that can be tinted in many colors, available in different quantities, and may require a different type of shipping, it naturally places considerably more requirements on the properties of the webshop.
In this case, most webshop solutions will require special adjustments to meet your needs. Therefore, you should investigate whether the shop solution you are looking at really covers the need for handling variants, categories, the number of products in the range, quantity discounts, sales, composite products, etc.
Are you selling abroad?
If you expect to cross national borders at some point or already have an international customer base, you should also ensure that your webshop solution can handle multiple languages. Most webshops can handle several languages, but some systems are significantly better at handling languages than others. You also need to make sure that the system you choose can handle differentiated VAT, based on countries both inside and outside the EU, otherwise it can become a problem for your business success.
What systems and services should your shop integrate?
It is very common today for most webshops to integrate with other IT systems via API solutions. The obvious reason is that they save you many manual processes and at the same time can give you valuable insight into your business. Good examples of commonly used integrations are web analysis, customer management (CRM), newsletters, shipping, inventory management, point-of-sale system (POS), and accounting. All systems that are intended to support your business and alleviate manual work.
Choose Hosting and domain
One of the very basic things that a webshop owner needs to have in place is the domain over which you should have ownership. Also, hosting for the webshop you are about to build. You can typically buy both at the same time, but if you are unsure about which webshop solution to use and want to secure your domain, it is possible to buy the domain alone. If you buy hosting along with your domain, you should make sure that the hosting is suitable for the shop solution you want to use. This is typically a bad place to save money.
Agreement on Payment Gateway and Merchant Account
To sell online, you need a payment solution in the form of a payment gateway and a merchant account. For webshops primarily targeting the Danish market, it's important to be able to accept payments through Dankort, MobilePay, and Visa. If you're considering expanding to other countries, ensure you understand the prevalent payment solutions in that area; otherwise, you risk losing customers.
Merchant Account To accept card payments, you must have a merchant agreement with a provider for the cards you wish your customers to use. For Dankort, you need an agreement with Nets, while there are several providers for popular cards like Visa and Mastercard. When using Dankort from Nets, you typically face a requirement to provide security on a locked account to safeguard your webshop customers against missed repayments.
Payment Gateway High security standards are required for online payments. Consequently, payments are typically processed by a payment gateway connected to your webshop. In practice, this means the moment a customer clicks 'pay' on the shop, the payment is handled by a secure service, also known as a payment gateway. Most major payment gateways can assist with merchant agreements, simplifying the integration of a payment solution in your webshop. The payment gateway also manages your transactions, ensuring funds are transferred from the customer to your account.
Other payment solutions might be relevant; in Danish conditions, MobilePay is indispensable. For some, Apple Pay or Google Pay could be relevant, though they aren't widespread everywhere.
Webshop Design and Structure
Once your specifications are set and you've chosen a shop system, you'll get to arguably the most crucial part: establishing the structure and design of your webshop. It's advisable to hire a professional webshop agency for design and structure since they typically possess invaluable knowledge about effective customer journeys and optimal user experiences.
Incorrect design choices and faulty structuring can lead to lost sales and a reduced chance of ranking on search engines, making it easy for competing webshops to gain market shares.
Filling the Shelves: Product Images and Descriptions
One of the biggest challenges of selling online, compared to a physical store, is that customers can't see, touch, and try out the products. Therefore, we recommend that you take great care with your product pages. Do yourself and your customers a favor by providing accurate product descriptions and representative images. By doing this, you kill two birds with one stone: assisting your customers and increasing your chances of being discovered on Google and other search engines, as good content improves SEO.
While it's tempting and time-saving to use manufacturers' ready-made texts and images, always ensure you have permission to use them. However, we always suggest reviewing the supplier's content and tailoring it to your business.
Information Typically Needed to List a Product:
Basic Product Information:
Product Name: An accurate name for the product.
Description: A unique description for each product, both short and extensive.
Product Number: This can be an EAN number, SKU, or something else relevant to your items.
Price: Typically, the price excluding VAT, as most webshop systems handle VAT separately.
Stock: Ensure your shop's inventory is up-to-date..
Category: In which categories or pages do you want the product to appear?es?
Product Features: E.g., a laptop's screen size, RAM, hard drive capacity, etc.
Product Variants: Sizes or colors, for instance.
Images: High-quality images are crucial. They should clearly depict the product's quality and material from multiple angles.
SEO - Search Engine Optimization Details:
Meta Tag Title: Usually the product name, perhaps combined with a short promotional text. Limit it to 60 characters or less
Meta Tag Description: A brief description of the product.
Additional Relevant Product Information:
Weight: Relevant if you determine shipping costs based on weight.er vægt
Brands/Manufacturers: Useful if customers want to filter by these criteria.
Related Products: An often-overlooked feature, but it can boost sales.
Customer Service, Legal, and Practical Information
It's crucial that your webshop displays your company name, address, business registration number (CVR-nr.), phone number, and email. The more contact details you provide, the more credible your webshop appears, ensuring customers feel more secure shopping with you.
Shipping Price and Delivery Time
Choosing a Shipping Provider: Numerous companies are available to choose from. This involves a contractual agreement between you and the shipping provider. For shipping within Denmark, we recommend GLS, Bring, Postnord, or Pakkelabels.dk. If unsure or need clarity on options, please consult us.
Shipping Cost Considerations: Once the shipping provider gives you the rates, make sure to offer clear and easily understandable shipping rates. We advise a standard shipping price and free shipping above a certain amount.
Offerings might include:
- Free shipping over a certain amount, delivered to the door.
- Parcel shop delivery (nearest or customer's choice depending on the provider).
- Direct delivery to the door.
- Store pickup – usually free.
Also, state the expected delivery time. When a customer knows the stock status and delivery time, it builds trust, enhancing your sales potential.
Terms and Conditions
Abide by the Consumer Contract Act when outlining your terms and conditions. Overlooking proper terms and conditions can be expensive. That's why a customer can't finalize a purchase without accepting these terms – as an online retailer, you're obligated to disclose specific information.
At a minimum, they should cover:
- Company contact details.
- Delivery details.
- Payment methods.
- Cancellation and return policies.
- Warranty rights.
- Personal data management.
Treat this as a legal document.
As an online retailer, you're obligated to abide by the Data Protection Act. Customers have a right to insights into which personal data you store and how. Thus, ensure transparency with your customers regarding this. Although templates are available online, here's one for reference: http://minecookies.org/skabelon-til-cookie-og-privatlivspolitik/
About Us / About the Company
A detailed company description doesn't only enhance credibility amongst your customers but is also mandatory for some business approvals. Describe who's behind the webshop and set the right expectations for your customers when they shop with you.
Timeline for Launching a Typical Webshop
Before Project Start
- Define the requirements or features for your shop.
- Decide on the products you'll sell.
- Determine the countries you'll ship to and the languages your shop should support.
- Have a business plan and competitor analysis ready.
- Consider marketing strategies: Social Media, Google Ads, SEO, etc.
4-8 Weeks Before Going Online - Basic Preparations
- Register a domain name.
- Choose a webshop solution.
- Document the requirements for your shop.
- Finalize a high-resolution or vector logo.
- Determine design preferences.
- List the countries to which you'll ship.
- Add other languages, if needed besides Danish.
- Create all product categories.
- Procure quality images for all products.
- Prepare all product information.
- Add all products to the system.
- Finalize a deal with a shipping company.
- Draft terms and conditions.
- Compose an 'About Us' or 'About the Company' section.
- Decide on the payment gateway and merchant agreement you want.
2 Weeks Before Going Online - Essential Preparations
- Determine shipping prices and delivery times.
- Finalize terms and conditions.
- Flesh out the 'About Us' or 'About the Company' section.
1 Week Before Going Online
- Integrate the payment gateway and merchant agreement.
- Allocate time for training and initial setup.